Home Comics Process Must read: Nathan Fairbairn on coloring Pax Americana

Must read: Nathan Fairbairn on coloring Pax Americana

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Wow speaking of comics crafts, coloring is definitely one of the key components of today’s comics golden age, yet one of the least understood, and Nathan Fairbairn presents a fascinating process post on how he colored Pax Americana, which has art by Frank Quitely. Among the insights—because Quitely’s coloring on his highly detailed art is so painstaking Fairbairn knew he could never equal it, but he had to try.

Pax Americana, written by Grant Morrison, is part of his Multiversity series, and also a take on Watchmen, and takes on Watchmen by Mark Millar and Warren Ellis. Multiversional indeed. The book has set Twitter all abuzz all week. Quitely’s art is stunning (and violent) as always, but the coloring is a powerful part of the effect of the book, dawn to small details of shadows.

And that’s just for starters! There’s a stunning amount of thought and care that goes into doing it right, which is why I usually just fake the hell out of it. On this book, though, I put in the effort.

And by “put in the effort” I mean “eventually asked Frank to do it for me when I couldn’t get it to look right.”

At any rate, this particular shadow was important. Frank told me he wanted the peace flag to cast the shadow of a mask on Harley’s face, which, symbolically, is so goddamn brilliant it makes me want to fly to Glasgow and hug the guy.

 

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